The excitement is building as the Premier League kick-off moves closer.
As always there will be hopes and dreams, as always there will be winners and losers, but who will be those winners and losers. Here are my predictions for the new season:
Most seasons I would back Manchester United to claim the title, but not this season. The team that I am going for is no surprise, it is Chelsea.
The return of the enigmatic Jose Mourinho seems to have given everybody a lift at Stamford Bridge.
Although Chelsea have made just one big money signings in Andre Schurrle, the squad really did not need that much improvement. No doubt the likes of Oscar and Eden Hazard will have benefitted from their year experience in the English game and will enjoy even better campaigns this time around.
A tough one this, but I am going for Manchester City. The Citizens have a new manager at the helm, Manuel Pellegrini who is extremely highly-rated in world football. The factor that could be even more important is that City have brought in some very good players.
Last summer Roberto Mancini had to do with second tier standard signings. However, this summer the City hierarchy have gone all out in their attempts to regain the title. For me the signing of Spanish striker Alvaro Negredo could be one of the best of the summer, because his style of play will fit in perfectly with the English game.
Manchester United are going through a massive change with David Moyes replacing fellow Scot and United legend Sir Alex Ferguson in the Old Trafford hotseat. Moyes has been frustrated in the transfer market this summer and that could be his downfall.
Late transfer moves for Everton pair Leighton Baines and Marouane Fellaini are believed to be in the pipeline, but will they be enough to win United the title, I do not think so. United have a relatively tough start to the season and could fall behind the other two title challengers.
However, United can never be written off. All three of the top teams in the Premier League could easily finish in any of those top three positions. It is hard to see any other team capable of breaking into the top three this season though.
The race for fourth will most likely include the usual suspects of Tottenham, Arsenal, Everton and probably Liverpool. A lot will depend on what happens in the transfer market between now and the transfer window shutting.
If things stay as they are then I am going for Tottenham to claim fourth spot, as long as they keep hold of Gareth Bale. The Welshman was Spurs talisman last season and if he can get his mind set right then he could help the club to Champions League football, which is an individual ambition of Bale.
Tottenham have done some of the most productive work in the transfer market out of any of the Premier League teams this summer. Their two big signings Brazilian international Paulinho and Spanish international Roberto Soldado are real quality additions.
Arsenal’s lack of signings this summer has now gone beyond a joke and that could cost them this season. The Gunners are written off every season, but if they do not strengthen before the transfer window closes then there is a real possibility they could miss out on the top four this season.
Everton are going through a big change with Roberto Martinez replacing David Moyes in the manager’s seat at Goodison Park. The pair have very different styles of play and the Everton team may take a while to adapt to Martinez’s way of doing things.
However, I do not see any massive fall from grace for the Toffees, as long as they keep hold of star turns Leighton Baines and Marouane Fellaini. Even if they do not then the worse that will happen is midtable mediocrity.
Liverpool enjoyed a fine finish to last season and in Daniel Sturridge and Philippe Coutinho have two very dangerous attacking players. The pair joined the Anfield outfit in January and completely changed how the Reds play.
Coutinho and Sturridge are the ones to watch for Liverpool, Luis Suarez aside of course if he stays. The Reds have to be considered as outsiders for the Champions League positions.
This one is always a contentious issue. Two of the newly-promoted sides look set to struggle for me. Hull and Crystal Palace did superbly well to win promotion last season, but I do not think that either has the quality to survive in the top-flight.
Hull have recently completed the signing of Jake Livermore and Tom Huddlestone from Tottenham. That should improve their midfield, but it is hard to see where the goals are going to come from this season.
Crystal Palace have brought in the likes of Jerome Thomas and Marouane Chamakh, who are players that have Premier League experience, but have been regarded as not good enough at other Premier League clubs.
One of their other signings striker Dwight Gayle could however be one to watch this season. The youngster impressed in the Championship last season with Peterborough and could be a danger to top-flight defences this season.
I do believe that Cardiff will survive the drop this season, which leaves one relegation position left. Two of last season’s strugglers Stoke and Sunderland could well be in the mix for the drop this season.
I really cannot choose between them, but if I had to then it has to be Stoke. Last season the Potters struggled to score goals and new boss Mark Hughes has not addressed that problem. It is hard to see anything other than a struggle at the Britannia this season.
Sunderland boss Paolo Di Canio has brought in a host of virtually unknown players into the club. Whether they will be a success nobody knows, but the Italian boss should have enough in his team to keep the Black Cats in the top-flight.
My surprise package is a team that a lot of experts have predicted will struggle this season, Norwich. The Canaries struggled towards the end of last season, mainly due to lack of goals. However, boss Chris Hughton has remedied that by bringing in goal scorers Rick van Wolfswinkel and Gary Hooper.
Norwich have also brought in highly-rated Dutch midfielder Leroy Fer and versatile Sweden international Martin Olsson. They are currently one of the favourites for relegation with a lot of bookmakers, but they have done some of the best transfer business in the top-flight.
It was a real challenge attempting to predict who will finish where in the top-flight this season. The Premier League is so unpredictable, title challenger’s aside. One thing that is for sure is that the Premier League promises to be just enthralling and exciting as always. Roll on the action!
What are your predictions for the Premier League this season?
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